It is starting to feel like winter here in Mount Shasta! November snow storms have blanketed our high elevation slopes, and locals have already been out skiing and riding in the backcountry. More cold and wet weather is expected this early season, and we are eager for the snowpack to continue to form throughout our advisory area.

We are proud to announce that the 2017-2018 winter will be the 20th season of operation for the Mount Shasta Avalanche Center. There has always been an avid backcountry recreation community in Mount Shasta and a need for avalanche information. The MSAC is passionate about our mission to educate the public about avalanche hazards through avalanche advisories and educational seminars. We are excited to carry on our service this benchmark season, and for many years to come.

For the second season in a row, the MSAC will have three full-time employees: Nick Meyers, Andrew Kiefer, and Aaron Beverly. We begin issuing daily avalanche advisories in December and continue through mid-April. During the winter, the avalanche center staff are out in the field most days of the week in order to gather current avalanche, snowpack and weather information.

We summarize this information in our daily avalanche advisories, and define the avalanche hazard that exists throughout our advisory area. The avalanche advisory is meant to be a resource for all backcountry winter recreationalists. Snowmobilers, skiers, snowboarders, climbers, snowshoers, or anyone heading into the backcountry all need to know about avalanches.

Use our website to find out about current conditions this winter, and to learn about avalanche safety.

Outdoor winter recreation is rapidly gaining popularity, and more people are venturing into avalanche terrain than ever before. An average of 30 people die in avalanches every year in the US. If you plan to recreate in snow covered mountains this winter season, it is crucial to understand the risks, especially when it comes to avalanches.

Always carry avalanche rescue equipment (beacon, shovel, probe), and know how to use it. Attend an avalanche awareness talk this season, or better yet, take a formal avalanche training course. Take advantage of the informational resources available, and always do your homework before you head out into the field. Recognize that the biggest goal you should have as a backcountry enthusiast is to avoid becoming an avalanche victim.

We have several events planned for this season, all of which are open to the public. Please come join us.

North State Giving Tuesday Party

Friends of the Mount Shasta Avalanche Center North State Giving Tuesday party, Nov. 28, 4 to 8 p.m. at the Shasta Mountain Guides storefront, 230 N Mt. Shasta Blvd in Mount Shasta. We are proud to announce that the FMSAC is participating in the North State Giving Tuesday event again this year.

Giving Tuesday is an online networking and giving event that provides nonprofit organizations with the opportunity to gain exposure, start relationships with new donors, and raise as much money as possible within a 14-hour period.

We encourage you to consider donating on Nov. 28 at the North State Giving Tuesday website at www.northstategives.org where your sponsorship dollars will be matched, or at our party, where we will be providing beer, wine, food and good company.

Free Avalanche Awareness Presentation and Companion Rescue Clinic

The first Friday evening of each month during the winter, MSAC gives an avalanche awareness presentation. We start at 7 p.m. at the Shasta Mountain Guides storefront, 230 N. Mt. Shasta Blvd in Mount Shasta.

The first Saturday morning of each month, MSAC puts on a Companion Rescue Clinic. Meet at 9 a.m. ready to go into the field at The Fifth Season, 300 N. Mt. Shasta Blvd. in Mount Shasta. Scheduled dates are: Dec. 1 and 2; Jan. 5 and 6; Feb. 2 and 3; and March 2 and 3.

Free Snowmobile Specific Avalanche Seminar and Rescue Workshop

Saturday, Jan. 13, 8:30 a.m. at the Mount Shasta Ranger Station, 204 W. Alma Street in Mount Shasta.

Movie Night

Matchstick Productions “Drop Everything.” Saturday, Dec. 9, 6 to 9 p.m. at the Mt. Shasta Sisson Museum, 1 N. Old Stage Road, Mount Shasta.

2018 Snow Ball

A celebration of the backcountry recreation season. A community tradition and one of our biggest fundraising events.

Saturday, Jan. 20 at the Mount Shasta City Park, 1315 Nixon Road, Mount Shasta. Social/cocktail hour and silent auction from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.; followed by live music and raffle from 7:45 p.m. to closing.

Tickets will be available at The Fifth Season, Shasta Base Camp, and at the door.

We usually sell out during the evening, so get your tickets early. ($25; kids age 10 and under are free).

2018 Annual Shasta Ascension Backcountry Ski Race

Saturday, Jan. 20 at the Mt. Shasta Ski Park. Registration, 7 to 9:30 a.m.; race begins at 10 a.m.

Climb up, then ski down. Alpine touring, telemark and splitboard events.

Dress up! We have prizes for the best costumes. Free backcountry ski demos hosted by The Fifth Season.

For more information, visit us at www.shastaavalanche.org. You can also reach us at shastaavalanche@gmail.com or by calling 1-530-926-9613.